European Desk, ca. 1900
I bought this in England, in London, about 25 years ago, and it was a really big splurge for me at the time. It was my first big... big purchase of furniture and I bought it because I fell in love with it, because it was so unique. I sort of thought it was Art Deco but it's... it's kind of softer--
--than the Art Deco.
The design is wonderful. It dates from about 1900, so it's a little bit earlier than the Art Deco movement, sort of a bridge movement between Victorian era and the modern movement that was to come. I think it's probably made in Austria. The attention to detail is just terrific. The drawer is a good example here. The drawer hardware, it's a silvered bronze.
What do you mean by silvered bronze?
It's a bronze that has a silver plating on top of it. One of the things that's really interesting about the piece is that if you look across the frieze, and they've used two rectangular lockplates… To try to create symmetry, they've added a third on the left-hand side, even though it has no purpose.
So, it's just an attempt to try to balance and provide symmetry to the design. And then, inside this cupboard here, it's got a great series of pullout drawers to add... to add further functionality to it. We take a look-- the drawer construction is just amazing. The inside of the drawer, the solid wood-- which you certainly don't see on furniture today-- with nice beveled edge, and then if we turn it, you can see that it's all finely hand-dovetailed. So just great quality construction. This type of design was popular throughout Europe-- in Britain, you certainly see a great deal of it through the firms such as Liberty and designers: Mackintosh. The Wiener Werkstatte in Austria also had a bevy of very fine designers. Unfortunately, there's no signature on the piece or maker's stamp, which could impact the value. But I'd say, at auction, I would expect an estimate in the $3,000 to $5,000 range.
Yeah. Terrific piece.
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